I really appreciate what the Chinese space agency did with the ascent module, crashed it onto the lunar surface so that they won't contribute to the space debris. I was wondering if there is an ulterior motive to crash the module, does it give them any territorial rights around the crash site? From bits and pieces of information I have, space is of no one but the spacecraft, and the pieces still belong to the country of origin, so was wondering if they could leverage this. I could be completely wrong but was wondering if this is possible, What are your thoughts?

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps there could be another motive as well, portrayed in the KSP game, I have no idea how much realistic it is: if you have a seismometer on the moon, you could get some interesting data after the crash. You could also perform some observations from another orbital craft of from the earth and learn something this way. $\endgroup$
    – Suma
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 12:25
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    $\begingroup$ This question could spawn several Sci-Fi plots (apparent crash is actually cover for, well, whatever skullduggery you want to propose). As to real-estate rights on the Moon, you can easily find the current international agreements -- which of course depend on everyone honoring those agreements. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ The Apollo missions, which did leave a seismometer, purposefully crashed the Saturn IVB on the moon to measure the signal. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 13:12
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    $\begingroup$ Actually it's pretty hard to avoid things crashing on the Moon sooner or later unless you choose a very special orbit, so perhaps yes they chose a specific crash site to avoid a one-in-a-billion chance of crashing on Eugene Shoemaker's final resting place or some other historic site. They certainly don't mind crashing rockets near (sparsely) populated areas at home, but with a tight control on the press and the internet those make much less of a "splash" than on the Moon where everybody is watching. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 14:38


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